It is not a secret that we love cooking at Gear Diary. Recently, Ooni sent the new Karu Wood and Charcoal-Fired Portable Pizza Oven for me to try out. The oven allows users to make real wood-fired, stone-cooked pizza in minutes. It is totally portable and can be used anywhere in the outdoors. Let’s take a look.
I have to start off by saying my family was extremely excited for me to do this review. In fact, the day we planned to fire up the oven, they bought ingredients to make pizza dough, sauce, and toppings all from scratch. I received the oven, a 12″ wooden pizza peel ($29.99), a 12″ perforated pizza peel ($59.99), and the infrared thermometer ($39.99). Assembly was a breeze. I simply added the smokestack, inserted the pizza stone and burn tray, and I made sure to follow the instructions to season the oven before baking a pizza.
Once the oven was assembled and seasoned, I started the fire to preheat as my family began making the pizza fixings. Everyone made their own unique pizza. Using the infrared thermometer, I made sure the oven reached at least 752-degrees F. The thermometer has a laser pointer to ensure reading from the correct location which is in the center of the baking stone. We used Mesquite wood as our source of fire, well, because…Texas! You can use lump charcoal or almost any hardwood. Keeping the fire stoked is quite easy if you have any experience cooking or starting a fire outside.
The fire should be visible from the front door, and you’ll want it to flow across the roof of the oven. If you see just a tiny fire in the back, it needs to be stoked.
When adding the pizza dough to the wooden peel, you should make sure it has enough flour on the surface that it slides back and forth with ease. This will ensure no problems sliding the pizza into the oven. My oldest was the first to test out the cooking process, and he was happy with the results.
Some things we learned with the first pizza was to not be scared to shove the pizza back to the middle of the stone right under the fire. This will give you best results. Also to remove the front door and to rotate the pizza 180 degrees about 30 to 45 seconds into the cook. After the turn, the second side will bake quickly — so you should be ready to pull it out. Using the perforated peel, the pizza is easily rotated and removed. You will feel just like a pro.
As you can see on the first side, we left on a few seconds longer than intended, but after the rotation, we came out with a perfectly crisp crust. The entire process is so quick and easy. We made four personal pizzas for the family, each made by the hands that would eat it with the exact toppings they wanted, and cooked to their preference. This ended up being a wonderful homemade family meal in which we enjoyed the process just as much as the food itself. My youngest kept proclaiming that the pizza tasted like the kind you get in a fancy restaurant. We ate together on the deck and planned to do it more often.
Using the Ooni Karu oven was not only easy with fantastic food results, but it was also an entire experience. The 12″ pizzas are perfect for individuals meaning each person can top theirs to the perfect flavor they love. The Essentials Guide included in the box not only gives instructions on the oven, but also includes some great recipes if you want to go the homemade route. My kids have already planned on having friends over and having a “pizza bar” with everyone cooking their own pizza; it’s portable, so we can also take it to the camp house at the ranch for work weekends. I was tickled at the ease of use and portability of the oven, and the family was blown away by the quality of pizza we were able to turn out. If wood fire pizza is something you enjoy eating, then I highly recommend looking at the Ooni Karu Wood and Charcoal-Fired Pizza Oven.
- Dimensions: 30″ x 15″ x 31″ (770mm x 400mm x 800mm)
- Unboxed weight: 26.5lb (12kg)
- Cooking surface: 13″
- 0.6″ (15mm) cordierite stone baking board
- Brushed 430 stainless steel, glass-reinforced nylon
The Ooni Karu Wood and Charcoal-Fired Pizza Oven sells for $329, and it is available directly from the manufacturer.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review unit
What I Like: Awesome way to cook wood-fired pizza; Portable; Easy to use
What Needs Improvement: Nothing, the oven works as advertised